Hearing called into allegations against VicPD member

A public hearing has been called by the police complaint commissioner into allegations against a member of the Victoria Police Department, after an investigation into a complaint of sexual misconduct while the member was off duty.

The move follows an independent probe of the matter by the Vancouver Police Department, with the results being referred to a disciplinary proceeding led by retired Judge James Threlfall. He found that the evidence did not support a finding of misconduct.

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That led to the complainant requesting a hearing be held.

A notice of public hearing from the office of police complaint commissioner Clayton Pecknold said that the complainant travelled to the Vancouver area on May 11, 2018, to visit a friend, and the next day the two women went to several spots for food and alcoholic drinks.

They met a mutual friend and a group of his friends, who included the off-duty Victoria member. A significant amount of alcohol was consumed during the evening.

Early the next morning, the group went to a downtown Vancouver hotel where the off-duty member and his two friends had a room. The complainant and her friend stayed the night there, along with the off-duty member and one of the friends.

There was sexual activity between the complainant and the off-duty member, but there is “a divergence in the evidence” about whether it was consensual, the notice said. The complainant told police she had been sexually assaulted while incapacitated due to alcohol consumption.

The decision from the Vancouver Police Department investigation by Insp. Shelly Horne found that the complainant was intoxicated, but not to the degree that she was unable to give consent. “The discipline authority found the off-duty member to be a credible witness and his description of the sexual contact with the complainant supported the proposition that he believed he had consent to touch her sexually,” the notice said.

The subsequent discipline proceeding determined that there was not “clear, cogent and convincing evidence” of a sexual assault, but added the sequence of events leading to the allegation was regrettable “and certainly not conduct that one would expect of a [member] of the Victoria Police Department.”

Neither the complainant nor other material witnesses had a chance to testify at the discipline proceeding, which the police complaint commissioner considered in going ahead with the hearing.

Names are not being released in order to protect the identity of the complainant, the OPCC said.

The hearing will be presided over by retired Supreme Court justice Wally Oppal at a date to be determined.


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